Archives for March 2016

March 2016 (7)
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Calculating the date of Easter for a particular year

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away – OK, it was in London in 1993 – I added a DateEaster function to my personal Dates unit, written in Borland Pascal 7. So: 16-bit DOS for all you oldies. For a bit of fun, I shall present it here with some commentary. At the time I was really proud of this unit: the majority of it was written in assembly for speed reasons (it was used in a swaps trading app I was writing) and it could calculate things like days between two dates (including on a 360-day basis...


Using Node to run JavaScript from Sublime Text

A quick one, more for my benefit next time I have to set this up in the future. Sometimes, I’m writing some JavaScript that can be divorced from a web page. Maybe it’s a weird bit of code, maybe I’m experimenting with (say) functional programming, maybe it’s just a small self-contained function, but I’d really like to test it right there and then, rather than copy/paste it and use the developer tools in my browser. For Sublime Text, we can set up a “ build system ” to do this. First install node...


Professional theme? Sure, except for these bits…

Back in January , I pulled the trigger on a new theme for this blog. I recognized some time ago that I am not a very good web designer (I can do small tweaks to CSS but not comprehensive composition) and it would be far better to buy something that’s well designed and then spend the time wrapping the output from the blog engine to this new look and feel. And that, pretty much, is what happened. I bought a professionally designed theme (making sure it was responsive), and hacked away at the templates...


Script from my very first appearance on stage

In a week where I am about to tread the boards again for the first time in over a year, my sister was sorting out some of our parents’ documents, found this page and scanned/sent it to me this morning. It is nothing less than the “script” – if I may call it that – of what I had to learn as announcer (or perhaps, more accurately, narrator?) for a production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves that our school was putting on. The wrinkle is, we were living in France at the time so it’s in French. Even...


SlySoft is dead, long live RedFox!

A week or so ago, the SlySoft website was suddenly replaced by a terse announcement that “[d]ue to recent regulatory requirements we have had to cease all activities.” I’m willing to bet that most of my readers haven’t heard of SlySoft or their main product, AnyDVD. In essence, AnyDVD is an app that circumvents the DRM present in all DVDs and Blu-ray discs, at the driver level. There are two reasons for doing this. The first is to circumvent the region encoding used by DVDs, and this was the initial...


Don’t configure Windows 10 with your Microsoft account unless you want a five letter name

A bit abrupt a headline, no? Well, it cost me a couple of hours by doing so. The scenario is this: you’ve just bought /acquired/factory reset a laptop with Windows 10 installed. The first thing you have to do then is configure it: you know, define the language to be used, the timezone, connect to the WiFi, set up an account on the machine, and so on. It’s this latter part that’s the problem. Windows would love you to use your Microsoft account to do so. It gives you a lot of benefits, such as sharing...


Goodbye Dell XPS 13, hello Dell XPS 13

Last year, having tried out a Surface Pro 3 and disliking it, I bought a Dell XPS 13 ultrabook as my “travel” computer. This year? Well, Dell refreshed the range, added more memory and and a bigger SSD and suddenly I was looking at my 5-year-old Dell XPS 15z and thinking it was time to replace that. And what better way to replace it by having a single laptop that I used all the time? The other consideration that factored into the calculation was that the new XPS 13 not only has more “space” but it...